Guar gum is used for constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. There is limited scientific research to support the use of guar gum for other conditions.
How does it work ?
There is some interest in using guar gum for weight loss because it expands in the intestine, causing a sense of fullness. This may decrease appetite.
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- Constipation. Taking guar gum by mouth appears to relieve constipation in some adults and children.
- Diarrhea. Adding guar gum to tube feeding formula given to critical care patients may shorten episodes of diarrhea. Guar gum also appears to shorten episodes of diarrhea in children with recent onset or persistent diarrhea. Guar gum does not seem to improve diarrhea in adults with cholera.
- High cholesterol. Taking guar gum seems to lower cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. Guar gum and pectin, taken with small amounts of insoluble fiber, also lower total and "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, but don't affect "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or other blood fats called triglycerides.
- High blood pressure. Taking guar gum with each meal might reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, the effects of guar gum seem to be less than the effects of psyllium husk.
- A long-term disorder of the large intestines that causes stomach pain (irritable bowel syndrome or IBS). Taking guar gum by mouth might reduce stomach pain and improve bowel function and quality of life in people with IBS.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Obesity. Taking guar gum by mouth does not seem to help people lose weight.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Small tears in the lining of the anus (anal fissures). Early research shows that adding guar gum to the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG does not reduce diarrhea in people receiving cancer treatment with the medication 5-fluorouracil.
- Autism. Early research shows that guar gum may improve irritability in children with autism. But it doesn't seem to help with other behavior issues.
- Diarrhea caused by cancer drug treatment. Early research shows that adding guar gum to the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG does not reduce diarrhea in people receiving the cancer treatment called 5-fluorouracil.
- An infection of the intestines that causes diarrhea (cholera). Guar gum doesn't seem to improve diarrhea in adults with cholera.
- Reduced or blocked flow of bile from the liver (cholestasis). Early research shows that taking guar gum does not reduce itching or improve liver function in pregnant women with a liver disorder called cholestasis.
- Diabetes. Some early research shows that taking guar gum with meals might lower post-meal blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes. The effect of guar gum in people with type 2 diabetes is conflicting.
- Diarrhea in infants and children who are malnourished. Early research shows that guar gum may shorten episodes of diarrhea in children who are malnourished.
- Low blood pressure that occurs after a meal (postprandial hypotension). Early research shows that guar gum prevents decreases in blood pressure after eating a meal in people with type 2 diabetes or women who have a history of low blood pressure after eating.
- Excessive growth of bacteria in the small intestines. Early research shows that taking guar gum with the drug rifaximin helps remove bacteria better than taking rifaximin alone in people with SIBO.
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
- Other conditions.
Side effects include increased gas production, diarrhea, and loose stools. These side effects usually decrease or disappear after several days of use. High doses of guar gum or not drinking enough fluid with the dose of guar gum can cause blockage of the esophagus and the intestines.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Children: Taking guar gum 3-5 grams daily is POSSIBLY SAFE in children 4-16 years of age.
Gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction: Don't take guar gum if you have a condition that causes obstruction or narrowing of your esophagus or intestine.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with GUAR GUM
Guar gum might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking guar gum along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Ethinyl estradiol interacts with GUAR GUM
Ethinyl estradiol is a form of estrogen that's in some estrogen products and birth control pills. Guar gum can decrease how much ethinyl estradiol the body absorbs. Taking guar gum along with estrogen-containing medicines might decrease the effectiveness of estrogen.
Metformin (Glucophage) interacts with GUAR GUM
Guar gum can decrease how much metformin the body absorbs. Taking guar gum along with metformin can decrease the effectiveness of metformin.
Penicillin (Penicillin VK, Pen VK, Veetids) interacts with GUAR GUM
Guar gum can decrease how much penicillin the body absorbs. Taking guar gum along with penicillin can decrease the ability of penicillin to fight infection.
Be cautious with this combination
Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with GUAR GUM
Some people worry that guar gum can decrease how much digoxin the body absorbs. But it is unlikely that guar gum will significantly affect digoxin absorption.
Be watchful with this combination
- For constipation: 4-22 grams of guar gum daily have been used. Start with a small dose of 4 grams per day and increase the dose slowly over time to limit unwanted gastrointestinal (GI) side effects.
- For diarrhea: In critical care patients, adding 22 grams of guar gum to one liter of enteral feeding formula has been used. A 2% guar gum enteral feeding formula has also been used.
- For high blood pressure: 7-10 grams of guar gum three times daily has been used.
- For high cholesterol: 15-18 grams of guar gum daily in single or divided doses has been used.
- For irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): 5-10 grams of guar gum daily has been used.
- For constipation: Guar gum that is partially hydrolyzed, meaning the fibers are broken down into smaller fragments, has been used in children. Doses of 3 grams daily has been used in children 4-6 years of age, 4 grams daily has been used in children 6-12 years of age, and 5 grams daily has been used in children 12-16 years of age.
- For diarrhea: Adding 15-20 grams of partially hydrolyzed guar gum per liter of rehydration solution has been used in children aged 4-36 months of age with acute or persistent diarrhea. For acute diarrhea, treatment should be continued until recovery or up to a maximum of 7 days. For persistent diarrhea, treatment may last for up to 7 days.
- For irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): 5 grams of guar gum daily has been used.
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